Monday, April 04, 2005

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that measures are quietly being considered in the state legislature that would modify Missouri's term limits laws.
Republicans are reportedly proposing that a two-term limit be placed on statewide officeholders (it is already in place for governor) that would keep two of the three remaining Democratic statewide officeholders, Attorney General Jay Nixon and State Auditor Claire McCaskill, from being able to serve any longer.
This is wrong and not because of any advantage it might offer to any political party.
Term limits are simply wrong. Those of you who remember my columns from The Carthage Press know I have always been strongly against term limits. If term limits had been in effect a couple of decades ago, the Joplin/Carthage area would have been forced to do without the legislative skills of Richard Webster and Robert Ellis Young, both of whom contributed a great deal to this area. Many of their accomplishments came long after they would have been out of office had term limits been in effect. All term limits have done is increase the power of lobbyists and bureaucrats, the only ones who remain in their posts year after year.
People should not be deprived of the right to elect the person they want to represent them. If they are stupid enough to elect someone who is not qualified for a position, then keep electing that person, then they are getting exactly the quality of representation they deserve.
On the other hand, if they elect someone who is working hard and representing their interests, why should the people be deprived of that representation because of arbitrarily set term limits?
For every Bob Griffin (the former Democratic speaker of the house who abused his position and ended up in prison), there were dozens of men and women who served their constituents well.
Yes, there were problems before term limits. Obviously, it was tough for a challenger to defeat an incumbent who is receiving a great deal of money from political action committees and other donors, but it could be done. A case in point is the 1990 House race in which Lamar Republican Bubs Hohulin upset heavily-favored Jerry Burch, even though Burch was being touted for statewide office at the time and had already served four or five terms in the legislature. When people become dissatisfied, they will vote out incumbents, no matter how powerful they are or how much money they have in their war chests.
On the face of it, term limits sounds like a great idea, but when you look closely all term limits does is say the people don't have enough confidence in their ability to choose their own leaders.
Five Arkansas companies made the latest Fortune 500 list, according to Arkansas Business, with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., of Bentonville ranked number one.
The other four and their rankings are:
72- Tyson Foods, Inc. of Springdale
255- Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado
265- Alltel Corp. of Little Rock
274- Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock
Arkansas Business also says that Wal-Mart officials reported Saturday that their same-store sales were up 4.2 percent in March, slightly more than the 4.1 percent in February and the 4.1 percent that was predicted for March.

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